I'm powering through The Loud Silence of Francine Green. I had finished On the Wings of Heroes "early" (before the end of the weekend), and thus didn't have a copy of the book I wanted to start available when there was listening time (and I can't let a moment of listening time get away!). So I picked up the shortest one from my nominated stash at home, and now I'm trying to get through it (five disks) by this weekend.
I think I'll make it. Francine reminds me in many ways of Shug, although Francine's world is pretty different (post World War II, anti-Communist Los Angeles), and also of Dewey Kerrigan from The Green Glass Sea (coming soon to audio, but read by me). Francine goes to Catholic school, with a preposterously hilarious crew of teaching nuns (all probably portrayed from life, but I've got no experience to draw upon), and she has befriended the class misfit: Sophie Bowman. Sophie's a real free thinker -- with opinions on the Hollywood blacklist, nuclear proliferation, what makes a saint -- so much so that even Francine has difficulty remaining her friend. It's not clear (nearing the end of disk 4) what -- if anything -- is going to happen, but it's a mildly entertaining novel. Author Karen Cushman takes Richard Peck's approach: describe the historical world accurately and let the reader decide if they want to find out more. There's lots and lots here about Montgomery Clift; I wonder who today's equivalent of him would be.
The reader, though,is just not a standout -- she does teenage girls very well, but seems to be struggling with her voices for adults and her baby brother (the only boy who appears in the novel). Everyone sounds a little off, a little awkwardly unreal.